Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Today is Veteran's Day -- a day that often slips by unnoticed due to a lack of fireworks displays and absence of a long holiday weekend with barbecue and football. I believe it is important to reflect on the importance of this day. So, indulge me in a look back at the history...

World War 1’s bloody campaign officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919. The actual fighting, however, had stopped seven months earlier with a temporary ceasefire instituted on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. November 11th, 1918 is considered the actual end date of “The War to End all Wars.”

In November of the following year, President Wilson spoke the following words to a nation still reeling from the shock and devastation of such a brutal and protracted fight: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

On Armistice Day in 1923, the ailing former president Wilson spoke again. He said, "The stimulating memories of that happy time of triumph are forever marred and embittered for us by the shameful fact that when the victory was won, be it remembered–chiefly by the indomitable spirit and ungrudging sacrifices of our incomparable soldiers–we turned our backs on upon our associates and refused to bear any responsible part in the administration of peace, or the firm and permanent establishment of the results of the war–won at so terrible a cost of life and treasure–and withdrew into a sullen and selfish isolation which is deeply ignoble because manifestly cowardly and dishonorable." Wilson continued, "There is at least one great and powerful nation which can turn away from programs of self­ interest and devote itself to practicing and establishing the highest ideals of disinterested service and the consistent maintenance of exalted standards of conscience and of right. The only way in which we can worthily give proof of our appreciation of the high significance of Armistice Day is by resolving to put self-interest away and once more formulate and act on the highest ideals and purposes of international policy. Thus, and only thus, can we return to the true traditions of America."

The next day, a cheering crowd of over 20,000 gathered outside Wilson's home to pay homage to the idealist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and architect of the League of Nations.

In 1938, Congress approved an Act to make November 11th, Armistice Day, a legal holiday dedicated to the idea of world peace and the diplomatic resolution of conflict. In 1954, after World War II had organized, trained and deployed the greatest number of armed forces in our country’s history and also after the United States had fought in the Korean conflict, Congress amended the 1938 Act by renaming it Veteran’s Day. Thus, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

I join the rest of the country in and remembering the sacrifices of America’s 25 million veterans, and urging all to support the men and women who fight our wars.

May we move forward into a more peaceful future.

17 comments:

Webradio said...

Thank You Laurie for this explain...

"Don't forget, not again !"

Have a nice day !

Tanya said...

A great lesson, thank you :)
Happy Veterans Day!

Dixie Jane said...

Thank you for your words, the history and a beautiful picture of, "Old Glory." Long may she wave. Your Dad's middle name came from President Wilson. It's good that we have a reminder day lest we forget.

Virginia said...

Great rememberance L. Your photo makes me hum God Bless America!

Jutilda said...

The view of the waving flag on such a solemn day makes me think of one of my favorite Martin Luther King quotes:

"We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear... That old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everybody blind... The time is always right to do the right thing... Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. "

May all of our veterans, living and past, be honored on such an important holiday.

Thank you so much for the history lesson. Your knowledge and insight is impressive and humbling. :~)

Dixie Jane said...

I have been a bit out of the loop and just discovered mademoiselle gramophone's gift of the song I mentioned earlier, "I'm Beginning to See the Light. My antiquated computer wouldn't comply so I missed the music while standing here in my 1945 tea dress. Thank you for the try mademoiselle.

Yakpate said...

What YOU said!!!!!

Mademoiselle Gramophone said...

Oh Dixie Jane, I'm so glad you somehow were finally able to hear it. I've been hunting for "I remember you" (which is appropriate for Veteran's Day) and is my mother's favorite song to sing to my papa-know it well. It's hard to find! I found this: Click Here

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I've got my flag up. MG can you find me Ramona?

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Laurie,
My studio mate for 8 years was in that same building that was bombed in Beirut. The reason he survived was because he's an insomniac and got up in the night and went to the back of the building to play his guitar. All his buddies were wiped out. We're still in contact. I bet they knew each other.

Mister Earl said...

As a swing dancer for nearly 20 years, I love these old standards, and I get to hear them played by live bands with great singers all the time. The Jive Aces from London come over a couple times a year and usually have Toni Prima join them on stage for a couple songs. Toni is the daughter of Louis Prima an Keely Smith.

Pasadena is fortunate to have one of the best places to learn swing dancing in the entire world - Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association. Erin Stevens, one of the two sisters who are PBDA, re-discovered one of the original Lindy Hoppers from the 1930s, Frankie Manning, who is still out there teaching at 94.

alex schaefer said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Laurie! I'm glad you appreciate the passionate rush I try to have in my painting... It's something unique to the painted image, the hand made element, and I try to let it all hang out! Life's too short for anything else. Great blog, keep it up! Keep looking at the world with an excited mind.

Cafe Observer said...

No greater love is this, than a person give up their life so another can live.

Veterans have been willing to die so that we lessers could live.

Somehow, "Thank You", is the very least we can give them back, although we can never fully repay them.

Hilda said...

Thank you for this beautiful and informative post, Laurie. I particularly like the excerpt from Wilson's 1923 speech — something I've never encountered before. I think it's something that governments all over the world would be wise to take to heart.

"May we move forward into a more peaceful future."
Amen.

Dixie Jane said...

To mademoiselle gramophone. Thanks for the bit of,"I Remember You" that my computer here, "Old Faithful" was able to pick up. Very thoughtful of you.

To Pasadenaadjacent.
I must tell you my story of Ramona. When I was about four years old I sat at the piano and two little hands managed to play Ramona for my Mom and Dad, treble and bass. "Glory Hallelujah"! We have a prodigy echoed my startled parents. I can still play Ramona on the piano. No improvement, just bigger hands.

To mister earl. Swing dancing, my passion forever. I wish I could hear the music you mentioned. Maybe I will have an extended visit to So. Pas. one day and can see and hear for myself. I bet we could name a jillion of the old standards. I was invited to make a CD of same. The music was canned but I got to sing my choices. Title of the CD, "I Remember You."

Mister Earl said...

Dixie Jane: Susan Werner, a singer-
songwriter, whom I've followed since 1994, has among her many gifts, a knack for writing songs in the style of the great old standards, also known as the Great American Songbook. Susan's CD, "I Can't Be New," is a collection of these old standard-sounding songs.

Laurie said...

Hi all,

Dixie Mom, what is this pondering of "if" you get an extended stay in South Pas? Your granddaughter expects another visit ASAP -- and you will stay as long as you please!

Judy, thanks for that wonderful King quote.

Pasadenaadjacent, my friend's name was Tim McMahon. ANd he played guitar, too. I'll bet your friend jammed with him. I still cry when I think of what the world lost when Tim was taken away so soon.

Mister Earl, you are THE go-to guy around these parts. I'm thrilled to know of a dance studio. Don't laugh, but it's one of those things my husband and I want to do when our daughter is older and we have more time to get away for things like that. Also, thank you so much for the songwriter recommendation. She sounds like someone I'd love to hear.

Hi again, Alex! Glad to see you put your brushes down long enough to stop by! :-) Actually, you're too good of a painter to waste time blogging. Get back to work!

Thanks, everyone, for commenting today. Til next time...